Public Service Announcement,
By Cpt. Mabior Garang de Mabior,
April 19, 2019(Nyamilepedia) — As we continue to wage the struggle to bring about fundamental change in our country, we acknowledge that the current Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) is the least costly way we can restore peace and move our people into prosperity. This was the promise of the liberation struggle, which has been betrayed. The regime has devised an intricate plot to scuttle the peace process, very similar to their previous plan in 2016. The regime and her politico military allies are party to the conflict- while being mediators at the same time- making it difficult for them to be held accountable for violating the provisions of the negotiated settlement.
The regime has succeeded in coopting most of the so-called opposition groups who are signatories to the R-ARCSS. These groups are what Frantz Fanon called “middle of the road nationalist movements”; they piggybacked their vested interests on the back of the struggle of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) and now they have achieved their objective, which was to gain positions in government. These so-called movements, who purported to be struggling for change in our country, have abandoned this cause and are dancing to the tune of the regime in Juba. This was the first step in the regime’s plan to undermine the implementation of the rest of the Agreement- which would transform our country forever- fulfilling the promises of the liberation struggle. The traditional elites, who have hijacked the struggle through President Salva Kiir, know that the implementation of the negotiated settlement would radically change the power relationships in the society, which have prevailed since the days of the Slave Trade.
The latest gimmick by the regime is to use the recent retreat to the Vatican to trap the SPLM/SPLA (IO). This has been their long-term strategy; to isolate the leadership of the People’s Movement and have us declared “negative forces”, yet all the reports are clear about who is responsible for the bulk of the atrocities including the Juba Massacre, which was the catalyst to the war. The regime is pushing false propaganda that the gesture of the Holy See- kissing our leaders’ feet- has magically transformed their hearts. While we are deeply touched by the initiative of the Church, we are also cognizant of the teaching in the book of James: “faith without work is dead”. The Holy See and the Archbishop of Canterbury were only supplicating; beseeching our leaders to do the right thing; and the right thing is the full implementation of the Agreement, not its abandonment. The following are a few points to demonstrate how the regime plans to maintain the unbearable status quo; a small contribution to the national conversation:
1. We cannot stress enough how flawed the peace process in South Sudan has been since its inception. The fact that the regime is a mediator and party to the war has allowed them to dictate the peace process and avoid punitive measures. This has led to the SPLM/SPLA (IO) becoming diplomatically isolated with its Chairman and Commander in Chief, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, being held illegally in detention. The SPLM/SPLA (IO) leadership negotiated and signed the Agreement despite these contradictions because we have been aware of the regime’s strategy from the beginning. The traditional elite who grabbed the reins of power in Juba from the historic SPLM after the death of Dr. John Garang have done nothing since, except putting their hatred of Dr. Riek Machar above the national interest. They will be condemned by history.
2. After the leadership of the so-called opposition being coopted using various means, these groups are no longer exerting any pressure on the regime to implement the # 2004-2009-012 Agreement. Even before signing the Agreement, these movements had been undermining the struggle of the SPLM/SPLA (IO), while at the same time piggybacking their own quest for power on the people’s struggle. These are traditional elites in the opposition and they are not aware of the totality of the history of our people’s struggle for fundamental change.
3. The success or failure of any movement is not determined by the working relationship between members; this is of no consequence in the grand scheme of things. A movement is judged by how successfully it has achieved its objectives- and in this the SPLM has failed miserably- so much that even the SPLM members themselves at the grassroots level have declared this.
4. This failure has made our country a failed state; where the status quo is unbearable, and only a war economy is accessible to our citizens. This situation has nothing to do with personalities and so power sharing will not solve it. Power sharing alone could work in South Sudan if we had an economy and a national army. The conflict in our country can only be solved through the successful implementation of the provisions of the Agreement, which deal with the Economy, the Humanitarian Crisis, Justice and Accountability and most importantly the security arrangements for the Agreement. If the regime were so concerned with the victims of inter-communal violence, then they would implement the Agreement as it presents the best opportunity for the victims to hold those responsible accountable and seek compensation. Why does the regime fear “Transitional Justice”?
5. The security arrangements of the Agreement provide for the cantonment and unification of forces, which has been frustrated by the regime. Even their suggestion to train 700 VIP protection units- which is a clear violation of the Agreement- has not been fulfilled. If South Sudan squanders this opportunity to establish a national army, it means that whenever politicians disagree in Juba, the army will split. With a national army, the arguments of politicians become background noise. The training and transformation of the security sector- including the army- is supposed to be a continuous process throughout the 35 months of the transitional period.
6. The fact that the regime is resisting the security arrangements and the establishment of a national army should be an indication to our suffering masses that it has no intention of implementing the negotiated settlement. Otherwise they would count their loses as it were and realize that implementing peace is a win-win situation. That they insist on maintaining a tribal army to implement the Agreement betrays their real intentions.
7. Our young men and women in uniform on either side of the political divide should consider the state which our beloved country is in and come together. This is a time in our history when the future is in your hands. The traditional elites in the top brass of the army failed to save the nation in December 2013 and again in July 2016. If this peace agreement fails for any reason, then instead of fighting each other, our young men and women should unite and force the politicians to bring peace. The future of our children depends on it.
8. The fact that the bulk of the opposition have been coopted by the regime and are now silent while the regime violates the Agreement with impunity- is a clear indication that they have surrendered to the regime and that is why the regime is intransigent. The regime feels that the SPLM/SPLA (IO) is isolated and perceptively weak and so they can cherry pick the parts of the Agreement that they wish to implement and ignore those parts they don’t like.
9. The use of“1991” has run out of steam and there gime is desperate for a new way to frustrate the implementation of the Agreement. The recent retreat to the Vatican is the newest example. While it was intended as a supplication by the Holy # 2004-2009-012 See, it was not a magical spell to bring peace. If President Salva Kiir is serious about peace – and “something has touched his heart” – then he would have immediately released money for the implementation of the security arrangements.
10. Instead, the Minister of Information, Hon. Michael Makuei has declared that the government must be formed in May, despite the fact that the prerequisites to the formation of the government have not been met.
11.The President, H.E. Salva Kiir, has added to this absurdity by inviting Dr. Riek Machar Teny to Juba. There is already a mechanism by which Comrade Dr. Riek Machar will come to Juba; it is stipulated in the Agreement. This fake invitation to Juba-God knows for what-is not only a set up; it is meaningless. The intention of the regime is to portray the SPLM/SPLA (IO) as anti-peace for insisting that the peace process be governed by laws and not supernatural powers. The next step in this plan is to tell the people of South Sudan that everyone is on board the peace process except Dr. Riek Machar, who has refused to cooperate. As expected, this propaganda is already gaining traction on social media.
12. As we have mentioned, the regime has already coopted those in the opposition whose struggle was only for positions and they are getting ready to form the transitional government by circumventing the Agreement. This would be tantamount to abrogating the Agreement; without the SPLM/SPLA (IO), this Agreement is a surrender. The opposition groups have at least one thing in common with the regime- hatred of Dr. Riek Machar. They are unable to put their personal hatred of Dr. Riek above the national interest; this is what led to war in the first place. If the so-called SPLM Leaders were the heroes they purport to be, then they would be confident in their ability to defeat Dr. Riek- who they call the prophet of doom- at the polls.
13. The so-called opposition are helping the regime to portray an image to the public that peace “has already come”, as if it were some animal. They say South Sudan is peaceful because security in Juba has improved. Even if this were true- and it is not- it does not mean that there is peace in the country. As the regime is pushing the propaganda that “the situation is calm”, there has been fighting in Yei and inter communal violence continues unchecked; recently, there was wanton killing of civilians in Boma and in Wau. Compatriots. This is the status quo we want to change. This peace is not only for those who live in and around Hai Amarat in Juba- it is also for those under the Tamarind trees in the rural areas.
14.The traditional elite on either side of the political divide are colluding to undermine the reform agenda of the Agreement, which will bring fundamental change in the country. The traditional elites fear power being concentrated in the hands of the people.
15. Our people should understand that there will be no shortcuts to peace. The issue is not Dr. Riek Machar, nor is it even President Salva Kiir. The problem is that the promise of the liberation struggle has been betrayed and President Salva Kiir has been hijacked by the traditional elites, who are using him to bamboozle the people that the government is the SPLM government they know. You have been had!
16. The regime may succeed in deceiving the world again, as they are mediators and party to the conflict; they are also members of the African Union while being party to the conflict. The United Nations and other concerned members of the World of Nations cannot do anything unless through the AU and other regional bodies. This means that we are on our own; those who could have supported us are in the same organization with an anti-people regime that is killing African peoples in South Sudan. History will be the judge!
17. I appeal to our people to be vigilant in this sensitive time. The peace process is part of the struggle to bring about fundamental change in our country and if the regime succeeds to outmaneuver the people, then the struggle continues. Because # 2004-2009-012 we are not fighting to make Dr. Riek Machar President. That will be decided by our people. We are fighting to fulfill the promise of the liberation struggle and for the self-determination of the people of South Sudan.
18. The people of South Sudan are the ones who have taken up arms; the politicians are only the revolutionary leadership of the people’s movement, and those who lack the revolutionary spirit are easily identifiable through their weak hearts, as they end up joining the regime. The revolutionaries among us shall wage this struggle to fulfill the promise of the liberation struggle and create a free society to its logical conclusion
A luta Continua!
Cpt. Mabior Garang de Mabior